by Antony Chazapis
On Saturday, I got my first SOTA activator points. Panos, SV1COX, insisted I should follow him and Timis, SV1QZG, at Mavrinora – a 2-point peak nearby. He wanted me to experience the thrill of portable operation with minimal equipment. Sort of a mini DX-pedition, with the associated mini pile-up.
In a few hours we were at our destination. Setting up took only a few minutes. The reports came in fast, after setting a spot on the SOTA cluster and calling a few CQs. We all did about 40 QSOs on HF, with just 10 Watts coming out of an Icom IC-703 and a Buddistick antenna. For some contacts, we also used my solar-powered Yaesu FT-897 at QRP levels, driving a piece of wire, mounted on a vertically-set fishing pole, through an Elecraft T1 tuner.
This is an exiting radio sport, where the fun lies in getting the most out of what you can carry along: just the essentials. Radio communication in its most basic and raw form. Thanks guys. Point taken. Now I just need a feather-weight radio and a foldable antenna, all neatly packed and ready to hit the road. Actually, I need more points.